It’s really about joy. I know we’re all trying to put our finger on what makes us tick, what our “type” is, and all that. But it’s really a distraction. What you are looking for is JOY.
How Do We Know Joy?
Dating can be challenging. Finding ways to not give up, ways to reenergize your search is part of the process. And while this site and many others will give you dating advice, the real lesson I’ve learned about all of it is this one: Joy trumps everything else.
I churned about in the online dating world for over 10 years. I was looking for “next.” I was looking for emotional intelligence. I was looking for beauty and fitness. I was looking for my lifetime companion. I wrote strategies. (see: A Simple 6-Step Relationship Strategy: From Dating to a Relationship) I went on a lot of useless first dates and nearly gave up. But, of course, we’re not going to give up. Sitting around lonely is not an option. But here’s another truth: a new friend is not going to randomly knock on your door to see if you want to date.
So, you’ve got to get out there. And stay positive. And even more important, say focused on your goal.
My goal: find a lifetime partner for sunsets and snuggles.
And then the slog begins. Thousands of apparently available partners on Match, Bumble, Tinder, and OKCupid. Swipe swipe message swipe swipe wait. Wait. Wait. Wait. Search again. Reset filters. Expand search range. Expand age range. Swipe swipe message swipe swipe wait.
Swipe Swipe Message Wait
Online dating is pretty lazy. You swipe and swipe. And if you’re a man your going to have to message a lot of potentials to find one date. If you’re a woman, as I’ve been told, you try and keep up with your inbox, filtering dick pics, monster trucks, and MAGA hats, before you respond to any suitors.
What *are* we looking for?
- spiritual connection
- to have children
- intellectual conversations
- a hand to hold during the storms
It’s important to understand your goal. Are you looking to date? Or, do you want to find a partner to settle down with and live happily ever after? As you’re browsing the dating store for mates, what are the things that turn you on and what turns you off? How can you examine your own reactions and learn what is enticing you vs. what is triggering you? Often, without knowing it, we are drawn to people who fit toxic patterns from our past. That’s a rabbit hole from hell you do not want to go down. So, plan and pick wisely. A bad relationship can suck years out of your life and even more years off your lifespan.
If you’re looking to date and have a lot of sex, at least be honest with your potential partners. Don’t pretend to be interested in a relationship if you’re really looking for a hookup. Occasionally, it might work (especially if there are drinks involved) but the results are usually less than stellar.
I Am Looking For An LTR
As I worked all four major dating systems at once, I was surprised by how few responses I got to my pithy and attentive “hi, I noticed your smile” messages. I averaged about 1%. So, here’s some quick math for you, out of 100 messages sent, I would get ONE “hello date.” Maybe 10 responses overall, leading to one “let’s meet.” (Women’s experience, as I’ve been told, is quite different.)
One of the first lessons I learned: “hello dates” are often not fun if you haven’t vetted the potential partner first. I really like having a phone call before a date. In about two minutes you can tell what this person is like “in conversation.” Do they have attention? Do they have ideas and plans of their own? After I understood how boring and bad first dates were, I started filtering all of my YESes with phone calls.
The next lesson I learned: If this person doesn’t feel like a long-term partner, I’m going to pass. Again, my goal was not to date but to find a person who matched my requirements for beauty as well as brains. The moment it’s obvious that a long-term relationship is not in the mix, I’m out. No more sex. Even if the sex is great. Sex with someone you “like” is okay. Sex with someone you love is a completely different experience. I’m looking for LOVE, not SEX. (Maybe some combination of the two, but joy always comes first.)
The Magic Ingredient In Dating
Joy is the magic ingredient that makes it all click for me. When I started looking for JOY, I was able to see beyond pretty photos and well-crafted bios. It focused my attention on something other than abs and boobs. And when I caught a glimpse of true joy, I reached out with vigor and patient tenacity.
Often, in someone’s dating profile, there would be one photo that captured my imagination. Often, there was one photo that did the opposite as well. I was looking for that spark.
It’s hard to understand what JOY + JOY feels like when you’ve only experienced less. Once. you know it, however, you’re never going to settle for “meh” or “okay.”
The Long-Term Plan for Success
I also think joy is the key to our success. When my girlfriend arrives I can tell in 0.5 seconds how her energy is trending. Normally, she’s bubbly, smiling, and magnetically attracted to my kisses. When something is off it’s as if the bright energy of her smile has been turned off or seriously dimmed. I am the same way. I’m not very good at hiding my emotions. I’m better and regulating them, but I still light up with joy and slow down with stress.
Joy + Joy is how I want to live my life.
Joy is a state of mind. You can be under great stress and remain joyful. Joy is optimism. Joy is faith. Joy is an unbreakable bond. And I believe joy is better shared with a partner.
Dating to find your partner is more like a game these days. The swiping and filtering is a bit too much like Farmville. You put a ton of seeds into the ground (messages and swipes) and you hope for good fortune. Once you understand what drives your attraction it is easier to sync up with someone who has the same needs. For me, understanding my own joy was my superpower, I began to search for joyful partners.
Smile and have fun. Even first dates can be entertaining. When you get over the entertainment value of dating, you can begin to hone your plans toward finding the partner you deserve. When joy lights up in your partner’s eyes every time you see them, it’s a feeling that cannot be measured. And perhaps, going forward, the dimmed joy will provide a good indication that a deeper conversation needs to be had.
Go for joy.
Find happiness magnified by someone who shares your joy setpoint.
John McElhenney – life coach austin texas
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New Dating Strategy:
- Action Not Intention Will Determine How Long I’m Single
- Offline Dating: Setting Intentions and Actions in Real Life
- The Joy of Sex Itself: What Are the Sexual Differences Between Men & Women?
- Why Online Dating is a Distraction and Not a Solution
- The 6-Step Relationship Strategy
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